July 01, 2002
Feeding frenzy!

I got mentioned on TAPped. Woo hoo! Just goes to show what a relentless commitment to quality and a well-placed double sawbuck can do.

Anyway, Atrios points to this entry from Privateer. Well done! He also points to this VodkaPundit entry. I agree with Atrios in that VodkaPundit misses the point. Look, many of us on the left thought Noam Chomsky was an idiot long before 9/11. We've had to spend a lot of time since then disavowing him and people like him since then, people with whom we'd never identified or sympathized. There were many reasons why we felt compelled to do this, not the least of which was a strong desire to not be associated in any way with the kind of wrongheadedness that they espoused.

It may seem like a waste of time to shoot down idiots like Cal Thomas. It is in some ways, but there's an important reason to do it anyway: There is probably some portion of my readership, as well as VodkaPundit's, that had never heard of Cal Thomas before today. We're doing these people a favor by making sure they know who he is and why, should they ever encounter a blogger who quotes or cites him favorably, they should seriously consider whether that blogger has anything worthwhile to say. I suppose VP's blithe dismissal of Cal Thomas accomplishes that, but I still wish he'd taken this more gravely.

In the comments on yesterday's entry, Josh points me to this Midwest Conservatove Journal entry, and to today's WSJ Best of the Web, in which James Taranto makes the same body-count observation that I did. Thanks, Josh!

Andrea Harris nominates Cal Thomas for Dumbass of the Month. With all due respect, he should get a Lifetime Achievement Award.

Andrea points to Rand Simberg, who I believe gives Cal way too much credit for subtlety:

If he'd said, "I believe it's a greater injury..." then I might say, what an idiot. But he's simply saying that many will conclude that, which may, as far as I know, be perfectly true.

Mmm. Sorry, but I agree with Andrea: This sounds like a royal "we" to me, too. There's a reason that English teachers and Microsoft Word deprecate the passive voice. I like what David Ross says in Andrea's comments, that Thomas is "too cowardly to stand by his own beliefs, and too dishonest to admit that no-one of any brain would support them either. A 10th grade teacher would dock a cool 10% from a term paper for that."

DailyPundit takes the same ho-hum approach that VodkaPundit does. As noted above, I think that's copping out. It's easy to point to one stupid thing someone says and say "I always knew that guy was an idiot". If you really believe that, you ought to provide some evidence for it.

Besides, it's not the case that TAPped "suddenly discovered" that Cal Thomas is an idiot. When TAPped says "But never did Tapped believe that anyone -- even Cal Thomas -- would say this", that sure sounds to me like there's an implied "a big dumbass such as" in there. The point that TAPped was making was that even by Thomas' incredibly high standards for idiocy he managed to shock them. That's worth commenting on, frenzied or not.

On a completely unrelated note: Is it just me, or does Cal Thomas bear an uncanny resemblance to Dabney Coleman?

Posted by Charles Kuffner on July 01, 2002 to Websurfing